Atlanta United make history on Sunday as they host their first-ever match in Mercedes-Benz Stadium against FC Dallas. Atlanta (10-8-6) are looking to continue a six-match unbeaten streak at home meanwhile Dallas (9-7-10) hope to break a recent dip in form and return to winning ways.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash, we broke down the Tools to the Match presented by Home Depot:
1) The Atlanta Advantage
Not only are the Atlanta faithful extremely eager to see their team in action inside their brand-new stadium, but they are also itching to replicate the intense atmosphere they created at Bobby Dodd Stadium which they haven’t enjoyed since July. Though not playing in Atlanta for six weeks, the expansion side is currently riding a six-match unbeaten streak at home and outscoring their opponents 16-6 over the course of the run. Home field advantage has proven a major asset for the league newcomers and there’s no doubt the power and strength of the crowd is going to play a major factor in Sunday’s match.
2) Defend Diaz
At the helm of FC Dallas’s impressive form over the last three seasons has been their inventive number 10 coming out of the midfield. With a total of 20 goals and 37 assists, Argentine Mauro Diaz has led FC Dallas to three straight post-season appearances as well as helping them to capture the MLS Supporters’ Shield and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2016. As crafty and creative as he may be, Diaz has missed much of the 2017 season plagued with injury, but Dallas’s hailed playmaker clocked 88 minutes and recorded a goal in their draw with Red Bulls last week, so it’s likely we’ll see him take the field again in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.
3) Fight Fire With Fire
Before Atlanta United entered the league this season, it was Óscar Pareja and FC Dallas that had been leading the charge of acquiring and developing young talent as well as establishing a possession-oriented, fast-paced, pass-first identity. Sunday will be the first time these two teams face off against each other, and Tata Martino and company will look to prove themselves as the new kids on the block. Both coaches have well-respected pedigrees, their playing styles undoubtedly resemble each other and neither team will be backing down from what they know best. This is one matchup that you won’t want to miss.
How to Follow
You can catch all the action between Atlanta United and FC Dallas in the first-ever soccer match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 3:30 p.m. EST on Sunday afternoon on FS1 or via FOX Sports GO.